POLICE and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson has brushed aside calls for him to be removed following claims that his role is “draining vital police resources”.

Responding to accusations that his job is a waste of public funds, the Wilshire and Swindon PCC defended his position, stressing the benefits he claims his role has brought.

Mr Macpherson’s comments come after Dr Brian Mathew, a Wiltshire councillor and North Wiltshire Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, set up a petition calling for the role of PCC to be replaced with that of a police authority, to whom police forces were accountable before the introduction of PCCs in 2012.

Dr Mathew said: “Wiltshire Police is struggling with third worst rate of staff dropping out – 3.6 per cent – in England and Wales, as well as with its appalling record of solving burglary remaining to be addressed.

“At the same time, it has not only been wasting money on the Edward Heath inquiry, but has the second highest ratio of senior officers to police constables in the country at 1:146 compared to the national average of 1:459, meaning that proportionately considerably more money is being spent on the top brass here in Wiltshire than elsewhere in the country.

“One way to turn this around would be to get rid of the PCCs and return to the old system of police authorities where councillors, magistrates and others gave their time freely to do the best for their communities.”

In response, Mr Macpherson questioned Dr Mathew’s motives and said that the move away from police authorities had “worked well”.

He said: “Dr Mathew stood unsuccessfully as PCC candidate only last year. He is now on a panel which oversees the work of the PCC and although I am sure he is taking this role seriously I find it interesting that he has taken this approach rather than to work with the panel to address any concerns he may have about the services delivered to the public.

“All across the country, Police and Crime Commissioners have helped to bring transparency and democratic accountability to policing and are working to give greater local oversight of criminal justice, which would lead to swifter high quality justice and improve the experience for those involved.

“Having a clearer understanding of what the public wants from their service allows me to better represent them and fight for better services.

“At £700,000 per year the police authority cost about the same, but it was invisible; it had a lesser scope than my office, and most significantly did not hold the Chief Constable so effectively to account.”